Friday, February 25, 2011

Cuba Oil Drilling Delayed (Yet Again)

Thursday, February 24, 2011
How could this be (sarcasm emphasized)?

The "experts" had assured us that Cuba would be drilling for oil in the Florida Straits by 2004. And again by 2010. And now by 2011.

Yet, the great Cuban oil hype continues.

My bet is that whenever (if ever) this rig infamous gets completed, it'll end up in Equatorial Guinea.

Ironically, news of this latest delay came as "experts" released another report insisting that the U.S. help Castro become a petro-dictator (as a opposed to a broke dictator).

From Reuters:

Arrival of Cuba offshore oil rig delayed again

Delivery of a Chinese-built drilling rig that will open the first full-scale exploration for oil in Cuban waters looks unlikely until at least August in the latest delay to beset the project, sources said this week.

They said an inspection of the newly-built, high-tech rig had been ordered to make sure it was in good shape after taking on water in transit from the Chinese shipyard where it was built to Singapore for completion in October.

The rig -- the Scarabeo 9, owned by Italian oil service firm Saipem SPLM.SI -- had been expected to arrive in Cuban waters in late June or early July after several earlier delays postponed its original delivery date of September 2009.

If the inspection turns up problems that need repair, the latest delay could stretch beyond August, sources said.

Targeting Officials Complicit in Abuses

Kudos to President Obama's initiative to single-out, designate and sanction Iranian officials complicit in human rights abuses.

The same should be done with Cuban officials, particularly in light of yesterday's brutal wave of over 130 known dissident arrests.

Another timely action would be to send the names of the two Cuban Air Force pilots (see pictures below) federally-indicted for the murder of three American citizens over international waters to Interpol for a Red Notice of capture.

From The White House:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Designation of Iranian Officials Responsible for or Complicit in Serious Human Rights Abuses
The historic events unfolding in the Middle East underscore the importance of protecting human rights around the world, which all nations have a responsibility to uphold. In accordance with U.S. law and the Administration's commitment to supporting the universal rights of the Iranian people, the Departments of State and Treasury designated today two Iranian government officials responsible for serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran.

Today's designation of Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran Prosecutor General, and Mohammed Reza Naqdi, commander of the Basij Forces, supplements the list of eight Iranian officials designated in September 2010 for human rights abuses pursuant to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, which imposes sanctions against senior officials in the Iranian government who, based on credible evidence, were involved in the commission of serious human rights abuses during or after Iran's 2009 presidential election. The individuals designated will be subject to financial sanctions and visa ineligibilities under U.S. law. The list of names is not exhaustive and will continue to grow based on events in Iran, and as additional information and evidence becomes available.

As President Obama has said, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States. The people of Iran should be able to express their opinions and their grievances without fear of reprisal from their government. The United States reaffirms its support to all those in Iran and around the world who are struggling to have their voices heard and rights respected. We continue to call upon the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people and we will continue to hold accountable those who infringe upon those universal rights.

This Afternoon in Calle Ocho

Honoring the lives of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Armando Alejandre, Jr., Carlos Costa, Mario de la Pena and Pablo Morales.

This picture speaks for itself.

Thanks to our friends at Babalu.

LPP FrontLine Results...

Repression against dissidents in Cuba

March in Miami for the freedom of Cuba

Cubans leave Cuba for the sake of
Different organizations of the Cuban diaspora today marked the anniversary of the shootdown of Brothers to the Rescue and the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo with a march along Calle Ocho and a vigil in Hialeah Gardens where they asked for freedom on the island.
Joseph A. Churches | el Nuevo Herald

Miami turned to speak out for freedom in Cuba where thousands of exiles and other nationalities joined Thursday in a historic march in Little Havana as part of the celebration of 116 anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence known as Grito de Baire.''
The march was organized by Radio Mambi and groups of the Cuban diaspora. Besides the patriotic date, the call was made on behalf of the cause of democracy and improving the conditions of political prisoners, as explained by its organizers.
"It's a historic mobilization demonstrating that the Cuban exile community is alive for the liberation and independence of Cuba,''said Frank Alonso, president of Unidad Cubana.
The event began shortly after 3 pm Eighth Street and Southwest 13 Avenue, and continued until 4 Avenue, close to downtown Miami.
Between shouts of "Viva Cuba libre''and" Enough,''thousands of attendees made it clear that the struggle for democratization of the island and the integrity of the dissidents are priorities.
The demonstration coincided with the acts of remembrance this week were organized locally by the first anniversary of the death of opposition Orlando Zapata Tamayo and the overthrow 15 years ago, the two planes of the anti-Castro organization, Brothers to the Rescue. In the attack, which occurred on February 24, 1996, killing all four crew in international waters.
Zapata activist died on February 23, 2010 after a hunger strike for 83 days for the release and improving conditions of prisoners of conscience. His death was an event that shocked the world public opinion and prompted reactions on several fronts against the Cuban regime. In terms of political activism, the sacrifice of Zapata redoubled efforts to denounce human rights abuses and civil liberties on the island.
The Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the solidarity of South Floridians and appreciated the outpouring of support from other fronts of the civil society. On Thursday said he was "shocked''by the massive attendance at Calle Ocho.
"All are present to defend freedom and democracy we want for our beloved country,''said Ros-Lehtinen." No matter the nationality, the march is one of unity.''
The evening reached its emotional when leaders of the Cuban diaspora, personalities from public life and government representatives addressed the audience with slogans of freedom and emotional speeches in defense of the Cuban dissidents.
The opposition has consistently suffered harassment and pressure from the authorities Castro in an effort to silence them. Recently an annual report of the Council of Rapporteurs of Human Rights in Cuba in 2010 concluded that the Cuban government stepped up the mechanisms of harassment and ordered at least 4,000 temporary arrests to stop freedom of movement of dissent.
The wave of arrests again become acute in the past 48 hours across the island. Among the opponents who were temporarily detained include the Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, Sakharov Prize 2010. Branded as Fariñas Havana and the rest of the dissent of''mercenaries''U.S..
"Although everything has been a week of celebrations to demonstrate once again that the cause of freedom in Cuba and still lives here in exile,''said Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican congressman from Florida." We see that Throughout the world, liberty is sprouting and I'm sure that will happen in Cuba the same.''
A list of attendees at the march were Mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, and Hialeah, Julio Robaina. They also agreed county commissioners, state representatives and former congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who highlighted the impact of the march.
"It's an important day and unity for all who love Cuba and want their freedom,''he said.
Regalado stressed over the course of the current international situation and the fact that the world "seeking freedom convulsing''he said.
"We have to take to the streets to denounce the abuses that exist in Cuba and denounce crimes such as those suffered by pilots of Brothers to the Rescue,''Regalado said." We think the Cuban exile community should send a message to the world with the same passion as ever.''
S: Translate LPPNEWS FrontLine Results


AP/Lefteris Pitarakis

Libyans hold mass protests in push to oust leader

Libya live report AFP – Protestors in Seoul on Friday. Libya was on edge Friday as heavily armed forces still loyal to Moamer …

BENGHAZI, Libya – Thousands of Libyans demanding Moammar Gadhafi's ouster rallied to show solidarity with the besieged capital, while the government moved to tighten its grip on Tripoli following opposition gains elsewhere in the country.
Tanks and checkpoints lined the road leading to Tripoli's airport, and security cordons went up around mosques where protesters might gather. Young armed men, some wearing green bands on their arms in a sign of loyalty to Gadhafi, checked vehicles for weapons.
Foreign mercenaries and Libyan militiamen loyal to Gadhafi have fought fiercely to roll back the uprising against his rule, attacking two nearby cities Thursday in battles that killed at least 17 people. But rebels made new gains, seizing a military air base, as Gadhafi blamed Osama bin Laden for the upheaval.
A Tripoli resident said people in the capital have received messages on their cell phones urging them to launch demonstrations after Friday prayers, and he said he expected thousands to comply despite fear of pro-Gadhafi militiamen who have been deployed on the streets.
The capital's central Green Square was the site of intense clashes earlier in the week between government supporters and protesters.
The resident said the government detained several activists in Tripoli late Thursday to try to prevent the demonstrations from taking place. Among those detained was Mukhtar al-Mahmoudi, a former member of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, who in the past spent six years in jail, the resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
"Let us make this Friday the Friday of liberation," one of the messages read, according to the resident.
Gadhafi's crackdown — the harshest by any Arab leader in the wave of protests that has swept the Middle East the past month — has so far helped him maintain control of Tripoli, home to about a third of Libya's 6 million population. But the uprising has divided the country and raised the specter of civil war.
Signaling continued defiance, Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, vowed his family will "live and die in Libya," according an excerpt from an interview to be aired later Friday on CNNTurk. Asked about alternatives in the face of growing unrest, Gadhafi said "Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll in Libya at nearly 300, according to a partial count. Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said estimates of some 1,000 people killed were "credible."
Residents in Tripoli have largely been holed up at home for days amid fear of pro-Gadhafi militiamen — a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — and it was unclear how many would respond to the call.
But witnesses in cities under rebel control said they expected mass demonstrations in a show of solidarity.
Tens of thousands gathered outside a courthouse for prayer services in the eastern city of Benghazi, the coastal city where the uprising began on Feb. 15. Tents — some with photographs of people who had been killed in fighting — were set up on the square and protesters served breakfast to people, many carrying signs in Arabic and Italian.
"We will not stop this rally until Tripoli is the capital again," said Omar Moussa, a demonstrator. "Libyans are all united ... Tripoli is our capital. Tripoli is in our hearts."
A few tanks that were parked on the beach were covered with people.
Muslim cleric Sameh Jaber, wearing the traditional Libyan white robe and a red cap, told worshippers that Libyans "have revolted against injustice" and called for revenge against Gadhafi "because of what he did to the Libyan people."
International momentum also has been building for action to punish Gadhafi's regime for the bloodshed.
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said Friday that the bloc needs to consider sanctions such as travel restrictions and an asset freeze against Libya to achieve a halt to the violence there and move toward democracy.
NATO's main decision-making body also planned to meet in emergency session Friday to consider the deteriorating situation, although Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the alliance has no intention of intervening in the North African nation.
The U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, meanwhile, said reports of mass killings of thousands in Libya should spur the international community to "step in vigorously" to end the crackdown against anti-government protesters.
Most of the eastern half of Libya has already broken away, and diplomats, ministers and even a high-ranking cousin who was one of his closest aides — Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam — have abandoned Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for more than four decades.
The rebels now control a swath of territory from the Egyptian border in the east, across nearly half Libya's 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) Mediterranean coast to the key oil port of Breqa, about 440 miles (710 kilometers) east of Tripoli.
Gadhafi is believed to be firmly in control only of the capital, some towns around it, the far desert south and parts of Libya's sparsely populated center.
A witness said police had disappeared from the streets and a committee had been formed to run things in Misrata, where pro-Gadhafi militiamen — a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — battled with government opponents who had been guarding an airport outside the city.
"Now it is calm, but there are worries that the government is preparing lots of security forces and that there will be a massacre today," he said. "We are spread out all over the city and the youths are in control."
The witness, who like other residents and officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said a protest was planned later Friday in Misrata, Libya's third-largest city about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital. He said a small group of youths might be dispatched to Tripoli after the opposition movement called for protesters to march on the capital, but the others had to stay behind to protect their city amid rumors the regime planned to attack again.
A doctor at Misrata's central hospital raised the death toll from Thursday's fighting to 20 protesters and one pro-government militiaman. He also said at least 20 people were wounded.
The opposition was in control of the city and thousands massed in the central square after prayers in support of protesters in Tripoli, according to the doctor and a witness.
The worst bloodshed Thursday was in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the capital Tripoli. An army unit loyal to Gadhafi opened fire with automatic weapons on a mosque where residents — some armed with hunting rifles for protection — have been holding a sit-in to support protesters in the capital, a witness said.
The troops blasted the mosque's minaret with an anti-aircraft gun. A doctor at a field clinic set up at the mosque said he saw the bodies of 10 dead, shot in the head and chest, as well as around 150 wounded. A Libyan news website, Qureyna, put the death toll at 23 and said many of the wounded could not reach hospitals because of shooting by "security forces and mercenaries."
Zawiya, a key city close to an oil port and refineries, is the nearest population center to Tripoli to fall into the hands of the anti-Gadhafi rebellion that began Feb. 15. Hundreds have died in the unrest.
The upheaval in the OPEC nation has taken most of Libya's oil production of 1.6 million barrels a day off the market. Oil prices hovered above $98 a barrel Friday in Asia, backing away from a spike to $103 the day before amid signs the crisis in Libya may have cut crude supplies less that previously estimated.
Associated Press writer Ben Hubbard contributed to this report.

Gaddafi accuses al-Qaeda of causing uprising ...

First he blamed the west and hallucinagenic drugs, and now it's Al-Qaeda...make up your mind Gaddafi!

Briefing Breaking News -- Libya Gaddafi Update -- 24/02/11 ...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Warplanes Launch Airstrikes on Demonstrators in Tripoli...

Obama on Anniversary of OZT's Death

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo
One year ago today, the selfless and tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo galvanized the world's attention to the ongoing mistreatment of those unjustly held by Cuban authorities for bravely standing up for the rights of the Cuban people.
The attention brought to the plight of Cuba's political prisoners by Zapata's courageous act and by the peaceful protests of Las Damas de Blanco has helped free a number of his fellow activists through the good offices of the Catholic Church in Cuba.  Today, I join the Cuban people in marking this anniversary by again calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba. 
Sadly, the harassment and detention by Cuban authorities of Zapata's mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo and others across Cuba, as they sought to commemorate her son's death, underscores how much of his dream remains unfulfilled.
Since taking office, I have reached out to the Cuban people to support their desire to freely determine their future and enjoy liberty and justice.  Today and every day, the Cuban people must know that their suffering does not go unnoticed and that the United States remains unwavering in our commitment to defend the inalienable right of the Cuban people to enjoy the freedoms that define the Americas and that are universal to all human beings.

List of Detained Activists

The following is a list of 46 Cuban pro-democracy activists that have been detained today for publicly commemorating the one-year anniversary of the death of Cuban political prisoner, Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Many others still remain unidentified.

1. Raúl Risco Pérez (Pinar del Río)
2. Conrado Rodríguez Suárez (Pinar del Río)
3. Pedro Jesús Callejas Lescano (Pinar del Río)
4. Eriberto Liranza Romero (Ciudad de La Habana)
5. Yadira (Damas de Blanco de Marianao, Ciudad de La Habana)
6. Tania Montoya (detained in La Habana, activist from Santiago de Cuba)
7. Hermógenes Inocencio Rivera Gómez (Ciudad de La Habana), along with 12 other unidentified activists.
8. Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" (Villa Clara)
9. Damaris Moya Portieles (Villa Clara)
10. Diosiris Santana Pérez (Villa Clara)
11. Yris Pérez Aguilera (Villa Clara)
12. Juan Ariel Rivero Díaz (Villa Clara)
13. René Fernández (detained in Villa Clara, activist from Camagüey)
14. Yunieski García López (Villa Clara)
15. Frank Reyes López (Villa Clara)
16. Meibis Mulet (Camagüey)
17. Yoel Marín Cárdenas (Camagüey)
18. Julio Columbié Batista (Ciego de Avila)
19. Omar Wilson Estevez (Holguín)
20. Anny Sarrión Romero (Holguín)
21. Maritza Cardoso Romero (Holguín)
22. Juan Carlos Vázquez Osorio (Holguín)
23. Edilberto Sartorio (Holguín)
24. Juan Sacarías Verdecia (Holguín)
25. Pedro Gómez Góngora (Holguín)
26. Richard Arias Duputey (Holguín)
27. Caridad Caballero Batista (Holguín)
28. Esteban Sandez Suárez (Holguín)
29. Juan Carlos Verdecia (Holguín)
30. Yoandri Montoya Avilés (Bayamo), along with 14 other unidentified activists.
31. Rigoberto Zamora (Bayamo)
32. Marino Antomarchi Rivero (Santiago de Cuba)
33. Reinier Aroche (Santiago de Cuba)
34. Guillermo Cova Reyes (Santiago de Cuba)
35. Guillermo Espinosa (Santiago de Cuba)
36. Luis Enrique Guivert Martínez (Santiago de Cuba)
37. Rogelio Tabío (Guantánamo)
38. Rosaida Ramírez Matos (Guantánamo)
39. Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina (Guantánamo), along with 4 other unidentified activists.
40. Yordis García Fournier (Guantánamo)
41. Jorge Corrales Ceballos (Guantánamo)
42. José Cano Fuentes (Guantánamo)
43. Francisco Luis Manzanet Ortiz (Guantánamo)
44. Yober Sevilla Martínez (Guantánamo)
45. Isael Poveda Silva (Guantánamo)
46. Abel López Pérez (Guantánamo)

The following 16 have been placed under heavily guarded house arrest:

1. Sarah Martha Fonseca Quevedo (La Habana)
2. Laura Pollán Toledo (La Habana)
3. Francisco Rangel Manzano (Matanzas)
4. Caridad Burunate (Matanzas)
5. Luis de la Garza (Villa Clara)
6. José Lino Ascencio (Villa Clara)
7. Ana Rosa Arteaga (Villa Clara)
8. Adriano Castañeda Meneses (Sancti Spiritus)
9. Idalmis Núñez Reinosa (Santiago de Cuba)
10. Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger (Holguín)
11. Daniel Mes
12. Cristián Toranzo Fundichely (Holguín)
13. Mildred Sánchez Infante (Holguín)
14. Fidel García Roldán (Holguín)
15. José Antonio Triguero Mulet (Holguín)
16. Ronald Ruz Rojas (Holguín)

UPDATE: The following 10 Ladies in White supporters have also been detained (H/T Penultimos Dias):

1. Blanca Hernández (65 years-old)
2. Yadira Rodríguez Bandino
3. Tania Montoya
4. Tania de la Torre Montesinos
5. Lázara Moreján
6. Inés Antonia Quesada
7. Estrella Arambuzo
8. Serafina Díaz Castillo (Finita)
9. Leidi Coca Quesada
10. Nolvis Otero, whereabouts unknown

Cuba FM blames US media for Libya violence

HAVANA – Cuba's foreign minister has accused U.S. media of inciting violence and military aggression in Libya, where forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi have launched a bloody crackdown on protesters that has left hundreds dead.
Bruno Rodriguez says press reports out of the North African country have been contradictory, and he accuses unnamed North American politicians and media groups of contributing to the bloodshed.
Rodriguez sent a statement to journalists on Wednesday saying that "some North American politicians and media groups are inciting violence, military aggression and foreign intervention" in Libya. He says he hopes for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Obama denounces Cuba's treatment of dissidents

A government supporter, right, chants revolutionary slogans as members of dissident group Ladies in White hold up images of late dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo on the first anniversary of his death in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011. Tamayo died Feb. 23, 2010 after an 83-day hunger strike while he was imprisoned for disrespecting authority. Ladies in White is a group of relatives of Cuban dissidents who were or are still imprisoned. 
A government supporter, right, chants revolutionary slogans as members of dissident group Ladies in White hold up images of late dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo on the first anniversary of his death in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011. Tamayo died Feb. 23, 2010 after an 83-day hunger strike while he was imprisoned for disrespecting authority. Ladies in White is a group of relatives of Cuban dissidents who were or are still imprisoned. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)
By Paul Haven Associated Press / February 23, 2011
HAVANA—U.S. President Barack Obama denounced the Cuban government Wednesday for harassing the mother of a political prisoner who died after a long hunger strike, and said her treatment and the detention of other dissidents stood as evidence of the island's poor human rights record.
The statement came as a pro-government crowd in Havana threw eggs and shouted insults outside a home where the Cuban opposition group the Damas de Blanco -- or Ladies in White -- were marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who passed away following an 83-day hunger strike.
A leading Cuban human rights leader told The Associated Press that at least 46 opposition activists had been detained across the island Wednesday, including another well-known hunger striker, Guillermo Farinas. Many of those detained were quickly released, but Farinas remained in custody late Wednesday afternoon.
Obama said Zapata's "selfless and tragic death" had "galvanized the world's attention to the ongoing mistreatment of those unjustly held by Cuban authorities."
"The Cuban people must know that their suffering does not go unnoticed and that the United States remains unwavering in our commitment to defend the inalienable right of the Cuban people to enjoy the freedoms that define the Americas and that are universal to all human beings," he said.
There was no immediate reaction from Cuba to the U.S. leader's statement, but it was sure to be met with anger and indignation. Relations between Washington and Havana have been frigid for decades, most recently over Cuba's decision to seek a 20-year jail term for a detained American subcontractor that officials here accuse of spying.
Obama's criticism followed similar sentiments by Amnesty International denouncing Cuba for its treatment of Zapata's mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, who was detained for about 12 hours last week in her hometown of Banes, in eastern Cuba.
Reached by telephone in Banes, Reina Luisa Tamayo said she spent the day laying flowers and a Cuban flag on her son's grave and then went to get passport photos made for a visa to the United States, which has granted her political refuge.
She said she plans to have her son cremated and bring the ashes when she departs Cuba for good -- expected to be in the coming months, although Tamayo recently said she was still awaiting Cuban paperwork.
Cuba considers the dissidents to be mercenaries paid by Washington to destabilize the country, and says its doctors did everything they could to keep Zapata alive during his fast.
Since Zapata's death, the government has cleared its jails of many political prisoners. It has freed 46 activists, intellectuals and social commentators arrested in a 2003 crackdown, and now holds just six men arrested in that sweep who are considered "prisoners of conscience" by Amnesty.

It has also freed about 25 other prisoners arrested separately for violent -- but politically motivated -- crimes like hijacking and sabotage.
Obama credited Zapata and the Damas for forcing the government of President Raul Castro to let the prisoners go, and he called on Cuba to continue the releases.
"Today, I join the Cuban people in marking this anniversary by again calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba," he said.
Elizardo Sanchez, a prominent human rights activist on the island, says around 100 such prisoners remain in Cuban jails, some convicted of violent acts including murder.
Sanchez told AP that he had documented 46 new detentions Wednesday, though he said many were quickly released and he hoped others would be soon. Among those taken into custody was Farinas, a dissident from the central city of Santa Clara who refused to eat for months last year, but was kept alive in a Cuban hospital where he was fed through a tube.
Members of the Ladies in White, a group comprised of the wives and mothers of the 2003 detainees, gathered at the Havana home of leader Laura Pollan to mark the anniversary of Zapata's death.
The women have marched through Havana every Sunday since the crackdown, demanding freedom for their loved ones.
A crowd of about 100 pro-government activists showed up outside Pollan's home to denounce them, throwing eggs and shouting slogans like "Cuba is not for sale!" "Zapata is a delinquent!" and "This street belongs to Fidel!"
Members of the Ladies in White shouted "Freedom!" back at them from the window.
Authorities insist the pro-government demonstrations are spontaneous, but little is done to hide coordination with security officials.
"All we wanted was to get together and pay tribute to Zapata," said a Ladies in White leader, Bertha Soler. "We are praying, lighting candles and laying flowers."
Other Cuban opposition figures also marked the anniversary.
Yoani Sanchez, a blogger who has gained international recognition for her searing commentary about life on the island, posted a computer-altered photograph of a famous image overlooking Havana's Plaza of the Revolution. In place of revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara, it showed the face of Zapata.

Today Picture...

Libyan protesters shout slogans against Libyan ...

Libyan protesters shout slogans

Libyan protesters shout slogans against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi during a demonstration in Tobruk, Libya, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Thousands in the coastal town of Tobruk celebrated their freedom from Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday by waving flags of the old monarchy, honking horns and firing guns in the air around a city square where he once executed people.… Read more »
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Gadhafi hold whittled away as Libya revolt spreads

Libyan protesters stand on the rooftop of a burned police station, during a demonstration against their Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, in Tobruk, Liby AP – Libyan protesters stand on the rooftop of a burned police station, during a demonstration against their …

BENGHAZI, Libya – The scope of Moammar Gadhafi's control was whittled away Wednesday as major Libyan cities and towns closer to the capital fell to the rebellion against his rule. In the east, now all but broken away, the opposition vowed to "liberate" Tripoli, where the Libyan leader is holed up with a force of militiamen roaming the streets and tanks guarding the outskirts.
In a further sign of Gadhafi's faltering hold, two air force pilots — one from the leader's own tribe — parachuted out of their warplane and let it crash into the eastern Libyan desert rather than follow orders to bomb an opposition-held city.
International momentum was building for action to punish Gadhafi's regime for the bloody crackdown it has unleashed against the uprising that began Feb. 15.
President Barack Obama said the suffering and bloodshed in Libya "is outrageous and it is unacceptable," and he directed his administration to prepare a full range of options, including possible sanctions that could freeze the assets and ban travel to the U.S. by Libyan officials.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the possibility of the European Union cutting off economic ties.
Another proposal gaining some traction was for the United Nations to declare a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent it using warplanes to hit protesters. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that if reports of such strikes are confirmed, "there's an immediate need for that level of protection."
Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said estimates of some 1,000 people killed in the violence in Libya were "credible," although he stressed information about casualties was incomplete. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at nearly 300, according to a partial count.
In Tripoli, Gadhafi's stronghold, protest organizers called for new rallies Thursday and Friday, raising the potential for a more bloody confrontation.
Militiamen and Gadhafi supporters — a mix of Libyans and foreign African fighters bused in — roamed the capital's main streets, called up Tuesday night by the Libyan leader in a fist-pounding speech in which he vowed to fight to the death. The gunmen fired weapons in the air, chanting "Long live Gadhafi," and waved green flags. With a steady rain, streets were largely empty, residents said.
In many neighborhoods, residents set up watch groups to keep militiamen out, barricading streets with concrete blocks, metal and rocks, and searching those trying to enter, a Tripoli activist said.
Gadhafi's residence at Tripoli's Aziziya Gates was guarded by loyalists along with a line of armed militiamen in vehicles, some masked, he said. The radio station building downtown was also heavily fortified. In one western neighborhood, security forces stormed several homes and arrested three or four people, a witness said, while tanks were deployed on the eastern outskirts, witnesses in at least one neighborhood said.
"Mercenaries are everywhere with weapons. You can't open a window or door. Snipers hunt people," said another resident, who said she had spent the night in her home awake hearing gunfire outside. "We are under siege, at the mercy of a man who is not a Muslim."
But below the surface, protesters were organizing, said the activist. At night, they fan out and spray-paint anti-Gadhafi graffiti or set fires near police stations, chanting, "The people want the ouster of the regime," before running at the approach of militiamen, he said. The Tripoli residents, like other witnesses around the country, spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation.
In opposition-controlled Benghazi, the eastern city where the uprising began, residents held a mass rally outside the city's main courthouse, vowing to support protests in the capital, said Farag al-Warfali, a banker. They also called a one-day fast in solidarity with them. Afterward, young men went into the courthouse to register to obtain weapons, which had been looted from police stations and military bases and then turned over to the city's new rulers, he said.
The idea is to "take their weapons and march toward Tripoli," al-Warfali said, although Benghazi lies 580 miles (940 kilometers) east of the capital, and territory still loyal to Gadhafi lies between them.
There were similar calls in Misrata — several hours' drive from Tripoli, the closest major city to the capital to fall to anti-government forces. A mosque called residents to come to "jihad," or holy war, in support of the anti-Gadhafi camp, said one resident, Iman.
"We are going to join forces with our brothers in Tripoli," she said.
The extent of Gadhafi's control over the country he has ruled for 41 years had been reduced to the western coastal region around Tripoli, the deserts to the south and parts of the center.
After Gadhafi's speech Tuesday night, militiamen flooded into Sabratha, a town west of Tripoli famed for nearby ancient Roman ruins, and battled government opponents who had taken over, said one resident. Around 5,000 militiamen from neighboring towns, backed by army and police units, clashed with the rival group and drove them from the streets, he said.
But his territory was being eroded.
The opposition said Wednesday it had taken over Misrata, Libya's third-largest city.
Residents honked horns in celebration and raised the pre-Gadhafi flags of the Libyan monarchy after several days of fighting that drove militiamen from the city, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, said Faraj al-Misrati, a local doctor. He said six people had been killed and 200 wounded in clashes that began Feb. 18.
Residents had formed committees to clean the streets, protect the city and treat the wounded, he said. "The solidarity among the people here is amazing, even the disabled are helping out."
An audio statement posted on the Internet reportedly from armed forces officers in Misrata proclaimed "our total support" for the anti-Gadhafi movement.
New videos posted by Libya's opposition on Facebook also showed scores of anti-government protesters raising the pre-Gadhafi flag on a building in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli. The city is located near a key oil port and refineries on the Mediterranean. The footage couldn't be independently confirmed.
Government opponents were also in control in Zwara, a town about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Tunisian border in the west, after local army units sided with them and police fled, said one resident, a 25-year-old unemployed university graduate. "This man (Gadhafi) has reached the point that he's saying he will bring armies from Africa. That means he is isolated," he said.
Gadhafi long kept his army weak and divided for fear of challenge, so in the fierce crackdown his regime has waged on the uprising, he has relied on militia groups, beefed up by fighters hired abroad. Meanwhile, army units in many places have sided with the rebellion.
On Wednesday, two air force pilots jumped from parachutes from their Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet and let it crash, rather than carry out orders to bomb opposition-held Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, the website Qureyna reported, citing an unidentified officer in the air force control room.
One of the pilots — identified by the report as Ali Omar Gadhafi — was from Gadhafi's tribe, the Gadhadhfa, said Farag al-Maghrabi, who saw the pilots and the wreckage of the jet, which crashed in the desert outside the key oil port of Breqa, about 440 miles (710 kilometers) east of Tripoli.
The anti-Gadhafi forces and the mutinous army units that have joined them were consolidating their hold on nearly the entire eastern half of the 1,000-mile Mediterranean coastline, stretching from the Egyptian border to Ajdabiya, about 480 miles (800 kilometers) east of Tripoli, encroaching on key oil fields around the Gulf of Sidra.
Across their territory, they have been setting up their own administrations. In many places, committees organized by residents, tribes and mutinous army officers were governing, often collecting weapons looted from pro-Gadhafi troops to prevent chaos.
"There is now an operating room for the militaries of all the liberated cities and they are trying to convince the others to join them," said Lt. Col. Omar Hamza, an army officer who had allied with the rebels in Tobruk. "They are trying to help the people in Tripoli to capture Gadhafi."
At the Egyptian border, guards had fled, and local tribal elders have formed local committees to take their place. "Welcome to the new Libya," proclaimed graffiti spray-painted at the crossing. Fawzy Ignashy, a former soldier now in civilian clothes at the border, said that early in the uprising, some commanders ordered troops to fire on protesters, but tribal leaders stepped in and ordered them to stop.
"They did because they were from here. So the officers fled," he said.
A defense committee of residents was even guarding one of Gadhafi's once highly secretive anti-aircraft missile bases outside Tobruk. "This is the first time I've seen missiles like these up close," said Abdelsalam al-Gedani, one of the guards, dressed in an overcoat and carrying a Kalashnikov rifle.
International alarm has risen over the crisis, and is sending oil prices soaring and European and other countries scrambling to get their citizens out of Libya. Oil prices hit $100 per barrel for the first time since 2008. Libya is the world's 15th largest exporter of crude, accounting for 2 percent of global daily output. Traders are worried the revolt could threaten Libya's oil production and spread to other countries in the region.
Passengers arriving in Malta, a short flight away from Libya, described chaos and violence at Tripoli's airport, with desperate people pushing and shoving to get onto the few flights taking off Wednesday.
"One of my fellow passengers was actually beaten up quite heavily and kicked on," said Steffan Arnersten, a 42-year-old Swede who works as a managing director at a technical consulting company.
The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting that ended with a statement condemning the crackdown, expressing "grave concern" and calling for an "immediate end to the violence" and steps to address the legitimate demands of the Libyan people.
After a meeting of EU ambassadors, the bloc did not announce sanctions, but EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU stood "ready to take further measures" beyond suspending talks on a bilateral deal.
The precise measures were still being negotiated, a senior EU official said, adding that there were up to 10,000 EU citizens in Libya, sparking worries about getting them out of the North African country safely. The official requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
"The continuing brutal and bloody repression against the Libyan civilian population is revolting," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement. "The international community cannot remain a spectator to these massive violations of human rights."
Michael reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb and Ben Hubbard in Cairo; Frances D'Emilio in Rome; and Angela Doland in Paris contributed to this report.

Axis of evil supports Khadafy...

The crisis in the Arab / Disparate reactions in Latin America

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, both endorsed Khadafy

According to Castro, USA plans to invade Libya, to Ortega, the African leader "is fighting a great battle"

Wednesday February 23, 2011 | Published in print
HAVANA .- Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua yesterday differed international condemnation rain the Libyan regime of Muammar Khadafy, which broke the American government consensus on the riots in the Arab world.
A little less than two weeks, governments in the region celebrated the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or remained silent. This was not done on Khadafy regime.
While some governments in the region, including Brazil, Peru and Chile, openly condemned the violent crackdown on demonstrators Libyan, Cuban leader Fidel Castro denounced the United States and NATO are planning an imminent invasion.
For its part, the government of Hugo Chavez expressed concern about the situation "in the brotherly country." And the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, bluntly solidarity with the Libyan dictator.
In one of his regular "Reflections", Fidel Castro broke the international chorus of criticism Khadafy, and accused Washington of wanting to take advantage of the revolt in Libya to invade the country and seize its oil reserves. Castro, 84, was a man close to Khadafy and shares with him a revolutionary past, a common enemy-the U.S., and a dubious record, having passed the four uninterrupted decades in power.
"What for me is absolutely clear is that the U.S. government is not concerned with absolute peace in Libya and will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade this rich country, perhaps within hours or very short days, "Castro wrote in his column published yesterday in the organs of speech Cubans with a revealing title:" The NATO plan is to occupy Libya. " On the complaints of the international community for the brutal repression of the regime against the demonstrators, Castro said: "It will take time to know how much is strictly true or false, or a mixture of events of all kinds, in the middle chaos, occurred in Libya. "
For his part, Chavez still has not spoken personally about the crisis in Libya, was surprised yesterday by a rumor which placed Khadafy way to Venezuela.
The false information was spread by the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and denied hours later by his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, who issued a statement denying the departure of Libyan leader reaffirmed his country and "friendship" between both governments . Chavez met with Khadafy last October during an official visit to Tripoli to sign several trade agreements.
Within the Bolivarian axis, the more forgiving president Libyan dictator was Daniel Ortega. For Nicaraguan President Khadafy "is fighting a great battle [?] And in these circumstances is seeking dialogue, but defending the integrity of the nation." Ortega expressed his solidarity with the Libyan dictator, who has been in telephone communication in the last hours, revealed. Last week, Libya, Nicaragua waived to about 200 million dollars in debt.
The government of Evo Morales is only asked Khadafy and the "people" Libyan finding a peaceful way to resolve the crisis. In contrast to the indulgent tone Bolivarian axis, the Libyan regime's repression was ordered by Brazil, which was "unacceptable" use of violence. The governments of Chile, Costa Rica and Paraguay demanded an end to repression.
S: AP, AFP and Reuters / Translate LPPNEWS FrontLine Results

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

International Reactions to repression...


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called Tuesday a "crime against humanity" repression against protesters in Libya and demanded an international inquiry into these events.
In a statement, Pillay called for the immediate cessation of human rights violations and denounced the use of guns, fighter jets and snipers against civilians. "The widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population are tantamount to crimes against humanity," he said.

Italy, immigration concerns
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini acknowledged Tuesday that the Italian government is "very concerned" about the danger "of a civil war" in Libya and the risk "of immigration to the European Union seasonal dimension" in a press conference in Cairo after holding a meeting with Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Musa.
For his part, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, has called a summit on Wednesday with the participation of several southern Mediterranean countries, including Spain, to control the flood of illegal immigrants that could reach European shores in the coming days because of the riots that are occurring in North Africa.
According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera ', the meeting will include delegates from France, Greece, Cyprus and Malta, directly involved in the new wave of immigration that could come from Africa to the latest developments in Libya in addition to what happened in Tunisia.
The migration crisis caused by the riots has forced the Italian government to declare a "humanitarian emergency" on the island of Lampedusa to the arrival of thousands of immigrants to their shores, a veritable exodus prompted by the revolt in Tunisia and Egypt.

Turkey criticizes the "cruelty"
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Tuesday that Libyan Government "harsh measures" to quell demonstrations only contribute to "increasing violence and threaten the country's unity."
"The harsh measures against a population that raises its voice for democracy only further exacerbate the spiral of violence and threaten the unity of the country," Erdogan said before the representatives of his party, AKP, the Turkish Parliament.

France sent three planes
The French government has sent three military planes to Libya in order to evacuate citizens Gauls found in this country due to the deterioration of the situation to the violent repression by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi has responded to protests against him.
As announced Foreign Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, evacuate the three military planes "now" to those Frenchmen whose presence in Libya "is not indispensable." The Government has taken this decision "to ensure the safety of our compatriots in the context of the violence in Libya in recent days," he clarified.
The three aircraft will depart from Paris for Tripoli, where the French Embassy has been instructed to inform the gala colony - about 700 people, but now believed to have Foreign around 500 - of the evacuation and "help them get the airport, "Alliot-Marie has pointed out.
Portugal had been yesterday to announce the first European country to send a plane to evacuate its citizens from Libya. The plane, according to the newspaper Luso 'Public', arrived yesterday in the Libyan capital and evacuated to a NATO base in Italy to 80 Portuguese and 34 other foreigners.
The device, according to sources consulted by the newspaper, has returned to Tripoli to evacuate more citizens lusos and then return to Portugal, are expected tomorrow.

Jordan condemned on Tuesday the use of force against protesters in Libya, including combat aircraft, has ordered an immediate halt to the crackdown and warned that what happened is a violation of human rights.
"The bloodshed of the Libyan people must cease immediately," the state agency said the Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad al-Kayed, stressing that "such acts and practices constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and Human Rights. "
In this sense, the Jordanian government has asked Libyan authorities to show "the greatest possible degree of containment to deal with the current situation and preserve the lives and dignity of the Libyan people and other nationals living in the country."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday expressed his "growing concern" about the danger to which civilians are exposed to repression with which the Libyan government is acting against the protests, especially the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers found in the country.
"Right now we do not have access to the refugee community," said UNHCR spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, from Geneva, adding that the UN agency has spent months trying to "regularize" their presence in the North African country, which has limited their work.
According to the spokesman, the information that is coming on Libya is extremely worrying. A journalist noted, have been informed that "Somalis in Tripoli are being persecuted on suspicion of being mercenaries" and felt "trapped and afraid to leave, even just have food."
According to UNHCR data available before the protests broke out in Libya had more than 8,000 refugees and 3,000 asylum seekers from countries such as Chad, Eritrea, Iraq, the Palestinian territories. Somalia and Sudan.
Therefore, UNHCR has appealed to "all the neighboring countries that welcome these people coming from Libya that could be fleeing targeted violence and fear for their lives," Fleming riveting.
S: Translations LPPNEWS FrontLine Results